Category Archives: brewing history

Things I Didn’t Realize: The Size of New Belgium

I received an email this morning touting the upcoming 20th anniversary of Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing. I remember this company starting up not long after I began covering the US beer market, so the two decades thing seems about right, but what shocked me is how big this wonderful brewery has become.

Hands up everyone whop would have guessed that NBB brewed 661,000 barrels last year! (All New Belgium employees put your hands back down, you don’t count.) That’s  pretty stunning increase from the 229,000 barrels they brewed at the start of the century, and enough to place them as the third largest craft brewer in the United States, behind Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada. And they’re only in 26 states, where those other two are national!

I know, most of that beer is their flagship Fat Tire, the ale so many of the presumed “beer cognoscenti” like to dismiss as boring, entry level stuff. But: a) Fat Tire is not so easily dismissed, and a fine quaff on a thirsty day; and b) The brewery has been really stepping it up with their other brands lately, notable their fine Ranger IPA and their barreled brews, for which they have just expanded — yet again — their wood-aging facility.

The official anniversary is June 28. Mark it on your calendar and raise a glass to co-founder and ceo Kim Jordan (seen above) and the whole crew at New Belgium.


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Filed under beer & the web, beer industry, brewing history, drinking quality, women & beer

CAMRA Dictionary of Beer Entry #1

I’ve been of late flipping through my 1985 edition of Brian Glover’s CAMRA Dictionary of Beer, occasionally with some amusement, but mostly with a fair dose of nostalgia. Witness, for example, the following (emphasis my own):

High Gravity Brewing: A modern development aimed at economising on brewery plant and material handling costs. Very strong beer is brewed and this is then watered down to the desired gravity when it is put into casks. Many brewers have experimented with this idea but have often been disappointed with the flavour of the resulting beer. Not at present in widespread use.

If only, eh? Check back in the days to come for more such entries.

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Thank You, Ron Pattinson!

Old — sorry, Olde — beer cocktails, served up over at “Shut Up About Barclay Perkins.

One of these days I really am going to have to buy Ron a pint or three. Martyn, too.

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Food for Thought to Start Your Week

From Ron Pattinson, a reminder that history was seldom as neat and tidy as it is ofttimes portrayed.

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Filed under beer style, brewing history

Bridal Rubbish

I always suspected that old canard about “bridal” being a corruption of “bride ale” or “bride’s ale” was a load of rubbish, but couldn’t be bothered to seek the proof in the history books. Fortunately, Martyn Cornell is far more studious than am I and so I can leave it to him to prove my suspicions correct:

Just one day into six months or more of continuous “royal” wedding bollocks, and already I’ve made the first sighting of the claim that “the word ‘bridal’ is a corruption of ‘bride-ale’ – a special beer brewed for weddings.” No, it isn’t, all right? I don’t care how many sources you can find that say this – it’s not true.

Don’t believe him? Go read the rest of his scholarly post and see if you can form a cohesive argument against it. Bet you can’t.

And BTW, I’m reading Martyn’s book, Amber, Gold & Black, and enjoying it immensely. You should probably get yourself a copy.

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Filed under beer blogs, beer books, brewing history